Rubble-Work by Suzie Smith. Series of unique screenprints, 26” x 20” each, 2020. Documentation by Leif Norman.
Patch, Mend, Piece Together // Suzie Smith
Exhibition Dates:* July 9 – August 21, 2020
Opening Reception:* Thursday July 9, 5-8pm
Virtual Artist Talk:* Wednesday July 22, 6pm
This artist talk will be delivered via Zoom.
*Please stay tuned for more news about attending or accessing these events. These events are free to attend and open to the public.
Martha Street Studio is pleased to present Patch, Mend, Piece Together, a solo exhibition of work by Suzie Smith (MB).
The screen printed works in this exhibition showcase Suzie Smith’s intuitive and spontaneous practice, engaging with the architecture of the gallery space. Described as an “antithesis” to the typical screen printing process, her process and concept are based on rules and rule breaking and focuses on the physical act of making.
Suzie Smith is an artist who works with printmaking and design that expands into sculpture, installation and video. Her work often incorporates the deconstruction and transformation of images and materials in an attempt to create new or multiple meanings. Smith creates systems and structures for her print process that act as a tool to build, take apart and push against. In addition to her own practice she is a founding member of Parameter Press.
Smith has had a number of solo exhibitions across Canada and has been included in group exhibitions in Canada, The United States and Europe. She received her BFA from Concordia University in Montréal (2004) and her MFA from The Glasgow School of Art in Scotland (2011). She has held various arts administrative and teaching positions in the Winnipeg arts community including working at Martha Street Studio for many years.
The artist thanks the Manitoba Arts Council for their generous support.
Patch, Mend, Piece Together gathers several silkscreened series made with unconventional approaches to print and image making. Both the material and process are key determinants of the works’ meaning and motivations, which explore the possibilities and the power of disassembly and reassembly.
This exhibition brings together various art historical influences including minimalism, abstraction, process, and quilt making, as well as acts of mending and repair. The patterns in the artwork are created by focusing on specific shapes which repeat throughout a series. At the same time, space is created within each piece to disrupt this flow and insert new variations into the patterns. This shifting relationship between similarity and difference permeates much of my work, questioning ideas of uniformity.
To inform my process, sometimes I create arbitrary rules for how a set of repeated shapes may interact; other times I rip patterns apart and then piece them back together in varied ways. The finished pieces become diagrams of a system devised to illustrate a thought or idea. The images resemble landscapes and structures that appear as though they could topple and be rebuilt at any time with a new set of rules.
This manner of printmaking celebrates the medium’s potential by challenging its traditional purpose of creating editions. I am interested in print as a set of parameters and processes that an artwork is sifted through. To create an image as a print, various steps might be taken such as applying or playing with mirror reflection, halftone, threshold, layering, transparency and opacity, and turning an image into a positive or negative, to name a few. These modes of deconstruction are the tools for creating a whole image but they can also act as filters; ways to explore—methodically and spontaneously—the ideas behind the images. This is a very potent quality of printmaking: it is not only an act of creation but an act of thinking.
Over the last year, I have been thinking a lot about my own constructed understanding of the world. Realizing that so much of what has been learned in schools, families, workplaces, and social networks needs to be unpacked, re-examined, and rectified, particularly in relation to issues of in/exclusion and discrimination, quietly informed my work. The acts of re-imagining in this exhibition are metaphors for how structures, including those that affect our societal systems, are not fixed. They are capable of being re-imagined and re-made in ways that are better for everyone.